How to Jazz up Your Life with Film

How to Jazz up Your Life with Film
By Charlie Haviland

Take Five.

Dave Brubeck to the best of my knowledge didn't make movies, but he may have been on to something. Or, not.

Cable executive Paul Rehrig is selling the notion that simple five-minute documentaries will soon replace written columns found on op-ed pages as food for thought for the American intelligentsia. AMC Network's  SundanceNow Doc Club, a member-based, advertising-free streaming video service dedicated to documentaries and independent film, commissioned five five-minute documentaries of social and political storytelling.

Will 5-minute documentaries take the New York Times out of anybody's hands? I don't think so. Social media and on-line journals have gotten that head start.

"Take 5:  Justice in America," a five-part series of short, or five-minute, films debuts Tuesday 17 May. It remains to be seen how many viewers will be sold on topics like voting rights and gentrification. Will you watch? If you do, will you still read David Brooks or Maureen Dowd? Ironically, it takes me five minutes to read a newspaper column.

Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" may be the best selling jazz single of all time, but do we really want to aim for documentaries to replace written opinion pieces in a day and age of rising illiteracy?

But, we will still watch movies. That's not to be confused with five-minute YouTube video. I'm talking about five minute features crafted by a filmmaker,  with a script and direction.

And, of the hundreds of submissions to the Royal Starr Film Festival this season, more than 25% are five minutes or less in length. Shorts.

Two of RSFF founders, Larry Kantor and Shane Sevo, produced respectively "Crazy Love" and "Detour."

I asked Larry about his short.

"You wrote a five page screenplay for a five minute film?"


"And, it tells a story?"

"Yes," said Larry.

So, I watched "Crazy Love" and fell for the hook in his story, line and sinker.

Shane Sevo's "Detour" is a scripted music video shot in one take in one day. I asked Shane why it took all day to shoot one take.

"We didn't get it in the first take," he said.

Oh. He was kind not to finish his sentence with 'silly.' Because, I felt silly.

If you'd like to help us at the Royal Starr Film Festival as a volunteer, we'd love to have you. The founding board is kind and ambitious, and we have a lot of movies to screen. If your life is screaming at a pace that cries 'I need more fun,' well, take five, and join us.

Royal Starr